Avoid Valle Nevado

A Review On: Valle Nevado Ski Resort

Valle Nevado Ski Resort

Rated # 2 in Chile
See all 5 reviews
Review Details:
Downhill Terrain
Family Friendly
Terrain Park
Purchased on:
Price paid: $5,000.00
Posted · 774 Views · 8 Comments

Pros: Nice high elevation, picturesque, exotic.

Cons: Horrible service, expensive, mediocre hill, lame facilities for the day skier.

We visited Valle Nevado on Sept 4, 2012.  It was a miserable experience, mainly due to the actions of Valle Nevado ski school.  


Just a general comment on skiing in Chile:  Chile does not cater to day skiers.  The resorts are built and designed around destination skiers that stay in their hotels.  Consequently the service towards the day skiers is bad. Day skiers are literally second-class users of the facilities.  Neither Valle Nevado nor Portillo have a lodge per se like resorts in the US and Europe.  There is nowhere to sit and rest except the restaurants, nowhere to stow your gear, etc.  No wifi or any other amenities unless you are a guest in the hotels.  No real accommodations for day skiers period.  


Our day at Valle Nevado was a disaster (see below).  Chile was partly redeemed by our visit to Portillo the following day. The same complaint about resort snobbiness towards day skiers applies, but at least we weren't flat out abused at Portillo like we were at Valle Nevado.  Plus the terrain at Portillo is superior, and the views and ambience much better than Valle Nevado.  The road up us much safer; even though longer, it is worth the extra half hour it takes to get there from Santiago.


So with regards to Valle Nevado, except for the prices, Deer Valley it ain't.  All ski areas are snooty, but at least in the US and Europe the ski areas have a policy of customer service that is generally respected by employees.  Not so in Chile generally, and Valle Nevado in particular.


The bottom line is, skiing in Chile is fun and exotic, but your dollar value is much better spent at comparably priced resorts in the US or Europe.   


The following is a copy of the letter describing the conflict we had at Valle Nevado.  I wrote the letter to Valle Nevado management, and personally handed it to the general manager's secretary, but consistent with the contempt this organization appears to have for its customers, I have not received a reply (and don't really expect one).



"September 4, 2012


Valle Nevado

Avenida Vitacura  5250 #304, 

Vitacura, Santiago – Chile


Ricardo Margulis, General Manager

Andres Marangonic, Ski School Manager


RE: Our day at Valle Nevado,  Tuesday September 4, 2012


Gentlemen,  thanks for your attention.  


My wife and I are currently living in Sao Paulo.  Our assignment ends this month of September.  While we were  in South America, we wanted  to ski in Chile.  We arranged to have two  of our grown children meet us in Santiago,  for two days of skiing.


We are avid skiers from the Rockies,  but our home is now near Washington, DC.  We have skied all over the US, and also in Europe.  We were so excited about finally being able to ski in Chile; it had been a dream of ours for years.


It was no small sacrifice to have our kids fly down from the States, and for us to arrange a vacation  during the last month of our fiscal year, and to fly over from Brazil.  Considering those sacrifices, professional and economic,  I often worried that we were  doing the right thing.


After a lot of preparation, including renting a car,  renting ski gear for our family in Santiago, and taking the long winding road up to Valle Nevado, we finally made it.  We all love the mountains, and the views and high altitude were  exhilarating.   We bought our tickets and made our way down to the area near the ski school, and started putting our skis on.


Then, one of your ski school instructors, a young woman who I found out later is named Zelinda,  accused our daughter of taking her ski poles.  Having walked down to the staging area with my daughter,  I was pretty sure that the poles my daughter had were the ones that she had carried with her.  My son, my daughter and I insisted that Zelinda must have been mistaken, but Zelinda was quite adamant that my daughter’s rented poles belonged to her.  She called my daughter a liar, and insinuated, if she didn’t say it outright, that my daughter was a thief.


Many angry words were exchanged after that, and I’m not proud of losing my temper. As far as I was concerned,  Zelinda could have the poles, if it was so important.  I left my daughter and son in the staging area and went to the ski shop buy some poles.


When I should have been skiing, I stood  in line at the store for the better part of an hour,  but I finally got the poles.  On my way back to ski, I found my daughter, who said that another instructor had come by and informed everyone that indeed, the poles did not belong to Zelinda.  However,  my daughter was so upset by the shock of such rude treatment  she was no longer interested in skiing.


I got a refund for the poles, and returned to the staging area to get ready to ski.  I ran into Zelinda and asked for an apology, which she owed us, considering we never had her poles in the first place.  She refused, saying that I was the one that needed to apologize.  More heated words were exchanged.   Then a male instructor came over,  (later I learned his name was Javier),  and I tried to explain our side of the story to him.  I said … “y esta”… (referring to Zelinda, who hid her nametag from me, I didn’t know her name at that time.)   Immediately, instead of listening to my side of the story, Javier started to lecture me on the impropriety of using “esta” instead of some other pronoun.  


I realized at then that a serious analysis of the situation was pointless.  Javier and Zelinda were not interested in hearing my version of events, they were more interested in saving their pride.  So I left and went skiing.


Later I caught up with my son and we took a few runs together.  After about an hour of skiing, my son told me the lingering memory of unpleasant events with Zelinda and Javier had wrecked  his day, he wasn’t enjoying himself and wanted to leave the resort.


So we went down,  and took our skis off again near the ski school staging area.  I saw Javier and Zelinda standing together.  I approached them so that I could see their nametags.  My intention was to report the incident to management.   Instead, Javier wanted to bring someone named Andy over to discuss it, but after Javier’s earlier cynicism, I did not see any further discussion as potentially fruitful.  So I told him I was going to write to management, and his parting words were  “Usted es un maleducado!”.  He said it, over and over.


My son apparently didn’t like his grandparents insulted in this way, and responded to Javier inappropriately, (and if my son wasn’t a grown adult, he’d probably be punished by me for what he said to Javier.)  


In summary, there was bad behavior and language exchanged in both directions.  This unfortunate event brought out the worst in everyone.  


After all our efforts and expense to get to Chile and Valley Nevado,  and after purchasing tickets, one of us did not ski at all, and two of us for only an hour or so.


(By the way,  on the way home we stopped at the rental store, and sure enough, the poles were indeed those we had rented.  Zelinda was dead wrong for accusing our daughter of stealing her ski poles). 


In addition to getting things off my chest, there is a reason I’m taking the time to write you about it.  As those responsible for the success of your organization, I’m assuming you’d like to know about incidents that affect visitors to your resort. 


As I mentioned before, we’ve been planning this trip for a long time and have traveled many miles and spent a lot of money to get here.   We’re on vacation and we want to leave the world’s troubles behind for the short time we have.


Instead, our first encounter with the Valle Nevado organization is to have my innocent and sensitive daughter falsely accused of theft by arrogant ski instructors, who are not even capable of the minimal courtesy of an apology when the truth is discovered.   Instead of enjoying a pleasant afternoon in a beautiful location,  we end up with heaps of bitterness and regret.  


I’d like to hope that we can forget this exceedingly unpleasant event and remember only the exhilaration and awe  of your beautiful resort.  But frankly, I think you can appreciate why I’m not inclined to risk another visit to Valle Nevado in particular, and Chile in general.


If you care about the impression people take home after visiting your resort,  teach your employees to respect visitors and to appreciate that visitors are the lifeblood of the resort.  Maybe when there is confusion, instead of jumping to the worst of conclusions, your employees could be trained to give the paying customer the benefit of the doubt.


Very truly yours,"



It's reasonable to expect that people here won't use the same degree of coarse language as the crowd at TGR, but c'mon, REALLY? You repeatedly engage in grade-school yelling matches with the employees? You give area management a letter while you're right there? What the heck do you expect them to be able to do after you've already left? And you let it ruin your whole trip? Gimme a break, and please don't ever visit my ski area.
Carrflor, you certainly had a very ungrateful experience and I wouldn't think of minimizing it in any way, nor will I defend the resort or the people involved. I would, however, like to provide another point of view before people scratch Valle Nevado off their list. I have had a season pass at Valle for 4 yrs now (my daughter's school joined an organization with 12 other schools which provides group lessons every Sunday, the occasional friendly race, and about half price season passes). So, I have had a lot of experience dealing with the ski school at Valle. Your letter addresses a Mr. Marangonic as the GM for the ski school, but you must have meant Andres Middleton, unless the ski school has more than 1 area. I have his contact info, and I am going to make sure he gets your letter. I’m also going to discreetly find out who this Zelinda is to see what she’s all about. In my opinion your experience was due to an incident, an unfortunate one, and is not representative of the instructors or their management. I’ll be the 1st to recognize that the customer service at Valle, and most places in Chile, is poor, but it’s a direct reflection of the culture. There is no excuse for the behavior exhibited by those 2 instructors, no matter what country they’re from. I’m from Idaho and lived in PC, Utah for several, so I have had, apparently, similar experiences to yours. You didn’t ski long enough in Valle to experience how rude the Chilean skiers are. Besides cutting in line and a general disrespect for others, anyone expecting even a cheerful smile will be left wanting. I’ve lived in Santiago for 13+ yrs now, married a Chilean and my daughter was born here, but I’ll never get used to how Chileans treat others. It’s true there is a lack of facilities for day skiers, but that’s changing. As part of a master plan, Valle is building an area for day skiers lower on the mountain that will have a lodge. It’s partially finished now – the gondola was supposed to be operating this season. The bathrooms are a great improvement over the ones up above. I’ll just say a few more things more about skiing in Chile. It’s expensive, the areas are small compared to anything like Snowbird, Sun Valley, etc., and are completely above tree line. There isn’t a great deal of challenging terrain, but most Chileans ski the groomed runs, so new snow doesn’t get tracked up as fast. Down south there are some areas with trees lower down on the mountain, however. But skiing in South America, during summer for northerners, is quite an adventure and could/should provide great memories. Sorry that yours, Carrflor, are such horrible memories.
Grow some balls, Carrflor. Seriously, the guy was right...You were rude.
This review should be removed. The guy gives the area crap ratings for terrain, family friendly and nightlife after stating he skied there for "an hour or so" just to be spiteful about a run in with one individual. What does your rudeness and disrespect have to do with the terrain...terrain you did not even experience because your ugly side reared its head and you walked off in a huff.
After reading your review, I am more likely than ever to try this mountain, in hopes it will not be filled with attitudes like yours.
From: chilehed
To: reservas@vallenevado.com

Dear Sir or Madam,

I'm writing this letter in response to a poor review of Valle Nevado, that has been posted on websites in N. America; links to a typical copy can be found below. The reviewer, who is known as "Carrflor", tells a story about a ski instructor named Zelinda and a pair of missing ski poles.

Carrflor has joined a number of sites for no other purpose than to post a letter he claims to have sent, complaining about his experience. I thought that you would be interested to know that while most of the people who say anything to him agree that Zelinda's conduct was very unprofessional, they also tell him to stop being an idiot. I won't repeat exactly what many of them say about him, but much of it is very rude and you might find it amusing. He acted like a small child, and I hope that he never comes to my ski area.

Please forward this to the General Manager and the Director of the Ski School.

Very truly yours,

A skier from Estados Unidos.


Anyone saying he was out of order is a moron, if an instructor accused my daughter of stealing her poles, I would explain calmly that she was wrong but if she insisted (wrongly) that my kids had stolen her gear, I would tell her to go Fug herself, and to shove the poles up her AZZ, seriously, how dumb can a person be? These guys have a chip on their shoulder, they see "rich Americans" and get all tetchy and aloof (strangely the manner in which they accuse rich tourists of behaving)
The instructor was plain wrong and if I caught one of my staff accusing a customer of theft incorrectly I would personally kick her backside just long enough to give her time to collect her stuff on the walk home to start finding another job.
To then hammer a customer and start saying he was rude is the type of reaction I would expect from anyone involved in a 2 bit resort in a 2 bit country, they don't have to answer to anyone so why should they be proffesional?
You shouldn't travel in the developing world expecting things to be the same as back home but let's face it, the dude had a really bad experience that was compounded by consistently bad service and to top it all off we have an instructor accusing his family members of a crime? If she cannot even recognise her own property, should be put in charge of anyone's safety? She seems under qualified to stand guard over a hole in the ground.
In short, I wouldn't have gone home, I would have skied all day to calm down and then if I had seen the retard Zelinda or the genius of a manager I would have given them a mouthful of abuse, with lots of swearing and gestures just in case they didn't catch my drift.
Oh and by the way - Chilehed, Fug you too you sap, your a tell tail beneath contempt. Idiot.
I've been there twice, when you go to a foriegn country and act like an ugly American, it isn't tollerated as is here in the USA. Other than some cultural differences, I had no real customer service issues there. You mentioned Deer valley, did you expect that kind of ass wiping there? The service there is fine, some people are more accomodating than others and you will find some that aren't overly excited about dealing with language and cultural differences and I am sure that some of the staff is burnt out by September just as you will find in the US. Not sure that the entire story is being told here. I don't understand why an instructor was using rental poles that just happened to be the same length of your daughters. Something is not right here. Regardless, if you are going to review a site and expect it to be posted and taken seriously, you should at least try to be honest. Trashing an entire resort in the way you have makes you look bad. I give it ZERO credibility and agree it should be taken down. It reflects poorly on Epic in my opinion.
The terrain in the resort is not challenging but there's a lot of fun stuff and it's an easy traverse over to LaParva and El Colorado for steeps and plenty of challenging terrain (note the extreme skiing competition is held there) but you should have known that by looking at a trail map and reading a few reviews. Happy you had a good time at Portillo, that sounds like a better match for you, owned and operated by American's and it caters to Americans. Other than food poisoning issues there, I have no problems returning.